Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Iron Man 3 Review Part 2: SPOILERS

I recently saw the movie Iron Man 3 and wrote my review for it. After writing it, though, I felt that it was insufficient. This is because a lot of the reasons I liked it so much were things I couldn't talk about and so I didn't. But I can't hold it in any longer, especially because it has sparked a bit of controversy and I have a huge desire to address it. But I will warn you. This is a review meant for people who have already seen the movie. If you have not seen Iron Man 3, I highly suggest that you stop reading this right now and instead go to my spoiler free review here. If you are still reading, I'm not going to double dip on things that I already talked about in my previous review, so if you haven't read that, go check it out real quick and come back. What I will do is spend this whole time discussing the spoilers in the movie that I couldn't talk about in the other one.

First and foremost is the Mandarin. If you are unaware of the Iron Man comic lore, the Mandarin is Iron Man's biggest arch-rival. He's the equivalent to the Joker for Batman or Lex Luther for Superman. For a while now it's been advertised that the Mandarin would be the main villain in this third Iron Man movie, or so it seemed, and he would be played by Ben Kingsley. From the trailers it seemed like Ben Kingsley would be a perfect villain. The biggest problem seemed to be that Ben Kingsley isn't Asian and it seemed fitting that they would pick someone who is actually Asian to play an Asian villain. Turns out the faithfulness issues with the movie versus the comics were a lot bigger than that. The movie starts out with a flashback of Tony Stark totally shafting this guy named Aldrich Killian and the second that happens, we instantly know that Killian is going to be a villain in the movie. After that we jump back to the present and there are news reports of the Mandarin terrorizing the world. Eventually Tony gets confronted by the media and he makes the dumb move of giving his address to the media and this quickly leads to his house getting blown up, supposedly by the Mandarin. It's at that point where Tony decides to confront the Mandarin. He learns that he is in Miami, Florida heads on over there. All is well, right? It's at this point where the huge twist in the movie comes into play. Tony Stark breaks into the home of the Mandarin, goes into his room and finds two scantily clad females laying in his bed. They inform him that the Mandarin is in the bathroom at the moment. When the Mandarin comes out, he is really surprised and so is the audience watching because it is at that point where we learn that the Mandarin is not this super awesome villain like he is in the comics. Rather he is drunk loser that is just acting the part. As the movie was progressing, we officially learn that Killian is bad and it is mentioned that he is working for the Mandarin. This would've given us a Joker/Harvey Dent type of situation that would've been awesome, but instead it is the exact opposite way. Killian isn't working for the Mandarin. The Mandarin is working for Killian as an actor to pose this big time media threat. Killian and a group of people are essentially fire people with crazy abilities. Pepper Pots gets kidnapped and they attempt to turn her into a fire person as well. War Machine aka Iron Patriot gets trapped and has his suit stolen, which gets used to kidnap and attempt to assassinate the President. All this leads to easily the best ending in an Iron Man movie by far.

Let me pause, though, and talk about the huge twist. Pardon my Star Trek, but Iron Man 3 boldly goes where no movie has gone before. I don't know if I have ever seen a movie that attempts to pull off what they did. They took a famous villain, advertised that he was going to be the main villain, and then halfway through the movie, turn him into a complete joke. This is very risky and has angered many Iron Man comic fans. I think that they have a right to be angry, but personally I loved it. Almost every superhero movie uses the same formula. It's a formula that works and I enjoy, but yet it is the typically the same. Superhero arises in the city. Villain rises up to take over the city and destroy the superhero. Superhero eventually overcomes challenges and defeats the villain. Bam. There you have most Superhero movies. Iron Man 3 I think could've used the Mandarin as the main villain like he was in the comics, and it would've been awesome, but in doing what they did, they took Iron Man 3 from a generic superhero movie and turned it into a unique and special superhero movie that still uses enough elements from that formula to entertain the audience.

That in and of itself I think was brilliant. We don't see that type of twist in movies these days and certainly not ones that actually work out positively like this one did. It threw me off, but I was really impressed. Sure, it didn't follow the comic book lore at all in terms of the Mandarin, but as a movie they aren't trying to duplicate the comics. They are taking the comics and then using their creative liberties to make a good movie. If you want something that is exactly like the comics, then go read the comics and you'll get what you want. Now on top of all this, I really think the psychological aspect of the movie added even more to the brilliance. Tony Stark wasn't prepared for what happened during the events of the Avengers with aliens, gods, wormholes, etc and that adding to the fact that he was almost seriously injured in the battle caused him to have PTSD-like symptoms in Iron Man 3. Several times throughout he has anxiety attacks and he can't sleep well. This causes him to not be completely mentally or emotionally stable. You don't see this in superhero movies. All superheros seem like they are immune to such psychological breakdowns and are perfectly stable at all times and that can be seen as a bit unrealistic and so I praise Iron Man 3 for going down that road. Also, the lack of sleep led Tony to be in his workshop a ton and created a bunch of Iron Man suits. He has this great idea of using them all in battle as well as being able to jump into different suits at command if he desires. This does lead to an insanely awesome final battle, but at the same time a lot of this idea fails. Along with the comedic aspect that comes with that, it also ties into psychological aspect of the movie that most comic book movies don't touch. Iron Man makes dumb mistakes. His idea is brilliant, but a lot of times it fails. How often do we get that? The idea of the superhero of the city failing in several aspects of his plan just isn't touched because normally superheroes are seen as near perfect beings. More kudos to Iron Man 3.

Finally, the last battle. The scene where all the Iron Man suits come flying in to help with the fight is just fantastic. Killian is also an excellent villain that is fun to watch while he fights Iron Man, which is something the first two kinda lacked, with special emphasis on the second one on that. Then we have both the President and Pepper Potts hanging over the fire, nearly getting executed. War Machine, without his suit, heroically rescues the President, while Tony Stark goes to rescue Pepper Potts only to watch her barely fall out of his reach and into the fire. Super emotional there as he thinks he has lost her, but after a good fight, entertaining fight with Killian, we learn that the transformation of her into a fire person successfully worked as Pepper Potts emerges from the fire and beats the tar out of Killian, and that was super awesome. Finally, after everything is settled down, we get the end moral of the story. Iron Man goes to his old, blown up house and in essence says that they may destroy his personal belongings like his house and whatnot, but one thing they can't take away from him is the the fact that he is Iron Man. That is a great, touching lesson. People can hurt us and take away all of our belongings, but no one can ever change who we are and so that should cause us to move forward with our heads held high into whatever the future brings us.

So these are all my thoughts. And given the fact that you have all seen the movie because you pressed forward through me giving away nearly every secret of the movie, I would like you to give me your opinions, because I am curious. What did you think about all this, specifically what did you think about the Mandarin twist? Leave your comments below.

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